“What, Another Female Husband?”: The Prehistory of Same-Sex Marriage in America

Despite its centuries-long history in the United States, same-sex marriage is often treated as a new development in the arguments of both opponents and advocates of the cause. Examples from the past are seen as sui generis rather than constitutive of a minority tradition, in part because period accounts describe such marriages as impossible. Rachel Hope Cleves synthesizes incidents ranging from the sixteenth century through the twentieth century to argue that same-sex marriage was never impossible. Rather, she asserts that the rhetoric of impossibility served to acknowledge and accommodate exceptions to the rule while preserving the regulatory function of marriage.

pp. 19—43 Read online >

Listen to Rachel Hope Cleves discuss her article in the Journal of American History Podcast.

Chinese Gold Miners and the “Chinese Question” in Nineteenth-Century California and Victoria

Comparative and transnational histories often enable a view beyond which, in a single-nation study, may seem normative. Mae M. Ngai compares the experience of Chinese gold miners during the California and Australian gold rushes in the 1850s and 1860s, and the rise of anti-Chinese racial politics in each location. Although the patterns of Chinese social and labor organization were similar, racial politics assumed different guises on the California and Victoria goldfields. Ngai argues that white Americans and white Australians responded not to the actual condition of Chinese miners. Rather, they responded to political exigencies specific to each time and place. Racism, she argues, is not an abstract ideology but is produced and reproduced according to the historical contingencies of local conditions.

pp. 44—70 Read online >

The Line of Positive Safety: Borders and Boundaries in the Rio Grande Valley, 1848– 1880

Historians have debated the differences between borderlands and frontiers, but what defines a border? The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo marked the Rio Grande as the dividing line between Mexico and the United States, but it did not immediately endow the line with meaning. It was only two decades later, when transnational crime increased, that citizens stopped crossing the river for fear of violence. Though the Rio Grande marked a boundary–the line between danger and safety–it became a border only after the U.S. federal government asserted exclusive jurisdiction after violence threatened to turn into another war with Mexico. By theorizing borders and historicizing border security, Alice L. Baumgartner shows how nonstate forces, such as violence, shape history.

pp. 71—96 Read online >

Before the Roar: U.S. Unemployment Relief after World War I and the Long History of a Paternalist Welfare Policy

Daniel Amsterdam reveals shortcomings in how scholars have written about the American welfare state by tracing the history of U.S. unemployment relief from the antebellum period through the early 1930s. Along the way, he unearths the long roots of Herbert Hoover’s highly scrutinized “associative” approach to mass joblessness and shows that federal involvement in unemployment relief and what is now called stimulus spending began earlier than historians generally portray. Finally, by examining local relief campaigns during the depression of the early 1920s, he calls into question prevailing wisdom regarding corporate social politics during the so-called New Era.

pp. 97—121 Read online >

“Age Ought to Be a Fact”: The Campaign against Child Labor and the Rise of the Birth Certificate

Susan J. Pearson examines how the Progressive Era campaign against child labor transformed birth certificates into the most privileged evidence of individual identity. In the late nineteenth century, when child labor laws were first passed, parental testimonials about children’s ages were considered adequate proof of age. Beginning in the early twentieth century, however, revised laws required children and their parents to submit “documentary proof” of age, preferably in the form of a birth certificate. Pearson argues that such legal and administrative changes not only clashed with working-class notions about “age” but also transformed the structure of epistemological authority. The replacement of affidavits of age with birth certificates made age an objective fact and gave state-produced documents the status of truth.

pp. 97—121 Read online >

The Little People’s Century: Industrial Pluralism, Economic Development, and the Emergence of Liberal Republicanism in California, 1942—1946

Historians now know much about how the postwar Republican party fought to dismantle the Democratic New Deal of the 1930s. The history of the Grand Old Party’s once-influential liberal wing, however, remains far less well understood. Tracing the early political career of future Supreme Court chief justice Earl Warren, Kristoffer Smemo offers new insights into how Republicans accommodated the discourses, institutions, and coalitions of New Deal liberalism. As governor of California during World War II, Warren represented a national movement of liberal Republicans who won elections in major industrial states by forging compromises with an assertive and organized wartime working class. Nonetheless, liberal Republicanism at base remained committed to undermining sweeping proletarian demands for social change.

pp. 97—121 Read online >

Textbooks & Teaching

  • Digital Tools and Disciplinary Learning: Teaching History with Technology by Scott E. Casper and Laura M. Westhoff (pp. 1190)
    Read online >

  • Historical Digital Literacy, One Classroom at a Time by Tona Hangen (pp. 1192)
    Read online >

  • Talking Less but Saying More: Teaching U.S. History Online by Carolyn J. Lawes (pp. 1204)
    Read online >

  • Teaching History Online to Today’s Community College Students by Susan K. McCormack (pp. 1215)
    Read online >

Book Reviews

March 2015, Vol. 101 No. 4

Alphabetical by the last name of the book's first author or editor.

  • Aamodt, Land, and Numbers, eds., Ellen Harmon White: American Prophet, by Catherine Wessinger
  • Anderson, Builders of a New South: Merchants, Capital, and the Remaking of Natchez, 1865–1914, by Timothy R. Buckner
  • Aranda, Hughes, and Sabogal, Making a Life in Multiethnic Miami: Immigration and the Rise of a Global City, by Robert Cassanello
  • Arnold, Fueling the Gilded Age: Railroads, Miners, and Disorder in Pennsylvania Coal Country, by James Sanders Day
  • Arsenault and Burton, eds., Dixie Redux: Essays in Honor of Sheldon Hackney, by Dan T. Carter
  • Banner, Being a Historian: An Introduction to the Professional World of History, by Orville Vernon Burton
  • Barr and Countryman, eds., Contested Spaces of Early America, by Amy Turner Bushnell
  • Barreyre, Heale, Tuck, and Vidal, eds., Historians across Borders: Writing American History in a Global Age, by Raffaella Baritono
  • Belton, The Crusade for Equality in the Workplace: The Griggs v. Duke Power Story, by Paul D. Moreno
  • Ben-Atar and Brown, Taming Lust: Crimes against Nature in the Early Republic, by Rachel Hope Cleves
  • Binnington, Confederate Visions: Nationalism, Symbolism, and the Imagined South in the Civil War, by Yael A. Sternhell
  • Blair, With Malice Toward Some: Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era, by J. Matthew Gallman
  • Blee, Framing Chief Leschi: Narratives and the Politics of Historical Justice, by Brenden Rensink
  • Bogaski, American Protestants and the Debate over the Vietnam War: Evil was Loose in the World, by Rick Nutt
  • Brands, What Good is Grand Strategy? Power and Purpose in American Statecraft from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush, by Louise Woodroofe
  • Bremer, A Store Almost in Sight: The Economic Transformation of Missouri from the Louisiana Purchase to the Civil War, by Charles Post
  • Burns, From Storefront to Monument: Tracing the Public History of the Black Museum Movement, by Micki McElya
  • Buzbee, Fighting Westway: Environmental Law, Citizen Activism, and the Regulatory War That Transformed New York City, by David Soll
  • Caffey, Chasing the Santa Fe Ring: Power and Privilege in Territorial New Mexico, by Walter L. Buenger
  • Cangany, Frontier Seaport: Detroit’s Transformation into an Atlantic Entrepôt, by Tiya Miles
  • Cannon, The Saloon and the Mission: Addiction, Conversion, and the Politics of Redemption in American Culture, by Jason S. Lantzer
  • Carey and Plank, eds., Quakers and Abolition, by Ryan Jordan
  • Cinotto, The Italian American Table: Food, Family, and Community in New York City, by Gary R. Mormino
  • Clemmons, Conflicted Mission: Faith, Disputes, and Deception on the Dakota Frontier, by Carol Higham
  • Crandall, America’s Dirty Wars: Irregular Warfare from 1776 to the War on Terror, by Michael D. Gambone
  • Criblez, Parading Patriotism: Independence Day Celebrations in the Urban Midwest, 1826–1876, by Paul A. Gilje
  • Daniels, Saving the Soul of Georgia: Donald L. Hollowell and the Struggle for Civil Rights, by Polly J. Price
  • Dayton and Salinger, Robert Love’s Warnings: Searching for Strangers in Colonial Boston, by George A. Lévesque
  • Dellape, America’s First Chaplain: The Life and Times of the Reverend Jacob Duché, by Joan R. Gundersen
  • Dickey, A Tough Little Patch of History: Gone with the Wind and the Politics of Memory, by Bethany L. Johnson
  • Dolski, Edwards, and Buckley, eds., D-Day in History and Memory: The Normandy Landings in International Remembrance and Commemoration, by Kevin Smith
  • Dorsey, Whales and Nations: Environmental Diplomacy on the High Seas, by Carmel Finley
  • Drake, Loving Nature, Fearing the State: Environmentalism and Antigovernment Politics before Reagan, by Karen R. Merrill
  • Dunne, A Cold War State of Mind: Brainwashing and Postwar American Society, by Tony Shaw
  • Eamon, The Making of a Southern Democracy: North Carolina Politics from Kerr Scott to Pat McCrory, by Glenn Feldman
  • Edge, Engelhardt, and Ownby, eds., The Larder: Food Studies Methods from the American South, by Andrew F. Smith
  • Escott, Uncommonly Savage: Civil War and Remembrance in Spain and the United States, by Enrico Dal Lago
  • Feldman, ed., Nation within a Nation: The American South and the Federal Government, by James R. Sweeney
  • Fenn, Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People, by Susan Sleeper-Smith
  • Foster, Sex and the Founding Fathers: The American Quest for a Relatable Past, by Virginia Scharff
  • Freeberg, The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America, by David E. Nye
  • Gagnon, Transition to an Industrial South: Athens, Georgia, 1830–1870, by Mary A. DeCredico
  • Garb, Freedom’s Ballot: African American Political Struggles in Chicago from Abolition to the Great Migration, by Dominic A. Pacyga
  • Garland, After They Closed the Gates: Jewish Illegal Immigration to the United States, 1921–1965, by Robert Rockaway
  • Gemünden, Continental Strangers: German Exile Cinema, 1933–1951, by Todd Bennett
  • Gillin, Shrill Hurrahs: Women, Gender, and Racial Violence in South Carolina, 1865–1900, by Bernard Powers
  • Gleeson and Lewis, eds., Ambiguous Anniversary: The Bicentennial of the International Slave Trade Bans, by Randy J. Sparks
  • Gordon, When Money Grew on Trees: A. B. Hammond and the Age of the Timber Baron, by Leah S. Glaser
  • Gordon, The Spirit of 1976: Commerce, Community, and the Politics of Commemoration, by David Gobel
  • Goudsouzian, Down to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March against Fear, by Kimberly K. Little
  • Grant, The Boy Problem: Educating Boys in Urban America, 1870–1970, by Richard J. Altenbaugh
  • Greene, American Carnage: Wounded Knee, 1890, by Elliott West
  • Greenlee, The Political Consequences of Motherhood, by MaryAnne Borrelli
  • Greenspan, Battle for Ground Zero: Inside the Political Struggle to Rebuild the World Trade Center, by Kristin Hass
  • Guelzo, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, by Lesley J. Gordon
  • Gundlach, Process and Providence: The Evolution Question at Princeton, 1845–1929, by Adam R. Shapiro
  • Hagopian, American Immunity: War Crimes and the Limits of International Law, by Allan A. Ryan
  • Hannickel, Empire of Vines: Wine Culture in America, by Peter A. Coclanis
  • Harlow, Religion, Race, and the Making of Confederate Kentucky, 1830–1880, by April Holm
  • Helgeson, Crucibles of Black Empowerment: Chicago’s Neighborhood Politics from the New Deal to Harold Washington, by Michael W. Homel
  • Hendricks, Fannie Barrier Williams: Crossing the Borders of Region and Race, by Victoria W. Wolcott
  • Herbert, Videoland: Movie Culture at the American Video Store, by Brian L. Ott
  • Hernández, Working Women into the Borderlands, by Casey Walsh
  • Hinojosa, Latino Mennonites: Civil Rights, Faith, and Evangelical Culture, by Kristy Nabhan-Warren
  • Hixson, American Settler Colonialism: A History, by John Mack Faragher
  • Holmes, The Faiths of the Postwar Presidents: From Truman to Obama, by Thomas J. Carty III
  • Honey, Sharecropper’s Troubadour: John L. Handcox, the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union, and the African American Song Tradition, by David Stricklin
  • Howard, More Than Shelter: Activism and Community in San Francisco Public Housing, by Robert B. Fairbanks
  • Huret, American Tax Resisters, by Molly Michelmore
  • Ingram, Dixie Highway: Road Building and the Making of the Modern South, 1900–1930, by Bill Corbett
  • Innis-Jiménez, Steel Barrio: The Great Mexican Migration to South Chicago, 1915–1940, by Thomas A. Castillo
  • Johnson, Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms, by Carole Emberton
  • Jones, Routes of Power: Energy and Modern America, by Ernest Freeberg
  • Jones-Branch, Crossing the Line: Women’s Interracial Activism in South Carolina during and after World War II, by Gail S. Murray
  • Kasson, The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America, by David Welky
  • Kerr-Ritchie, Freedom’s Seekers: Essays on Comparative Emancipation, by Gale L. Kenny
  • Knauer, Let Us Fight as Free Men: Black Soldiers and Civil Rights, by Marcus S. Cox
  • Laderman, Empire in Waves: A Political History of Surfing, by Vernadette Gonzalez
  • Lambert, Unclean Lips: Obscenity, Jews, and American Culture, by Leslie Fishbein
  • LaRoche, Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad: The Geography of Resistance, by Katherine Hayes
  • Lauck, Prairie Republic: The Political Culture of Dakota Territory, 1879–1889, by Michael J. Mullin
  • Lauck, The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History, by Joe Anderson
  • Lee, Claiming the Union: Citizenship in the Post–Civil War South, by Marek D. Steedman
  • Leypoldt, ed., Intellectual Authority and Literary Culture in the U.S., 1790–1900, by Robin Peel
  • Longenecker, Gettysburg Religion: Refinement, Diversity, and Race in the Antebellum and Civil War Border North, by Sean A. Scott
  • Lubin, Geographies of Liberation: The Making of an Afro-Arab Political Imaginary, by Minkah Makalani
  • Lunbeck, The Americanization of Narcissism, by Kevin Mattson
  • MacDougall, The People’s Network: The Political Economy of the Telephone in the Gilded Age, by Catherine L. Fisk
  • McAndrews, What They Wished For: American Catholics and American Presidents, 1960–2004, by Neil J. Young
  • McKinley, Stinking Stones and Rocks of Gold: Phosphate, Fertilizer, and Industrialization in Postbellum South Carolina, by Barbara Hahn
  • McNeil, Roberson, Dixie, and McGruder, Witness: Two Hundred Years of African-American Faith and Practice at the Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem, New York, by Dennis C. Dickerson
  • Meckel, Classrooms and Clinics: Urban Schools and the Protection and Promotion of Child Health, 1870–1930, by Jennifer Lisa Koslow
  • Mehrotra, Making the Modern American Fiscal State: Law, Politics, and the Rise of Progressive Taxation, 1877–1929, by Nicholas R. Parrillo
  • Misa, Digital State: The Story of Minnesota’s Computing Industry, by Joseph November
  • Mohr, Licensed to Practice: The Supreme Court Defines the American Medical Profession, by Jeffrey Kahana
  • Montès, American Capitals: A Historical Geography, by Jonathan M. Smith
  • Nelson, Resilient America: Electing Nixon in 1968, Channeling Dissent, and Dividing Government, by Sarah Mergel
  • Newman and Onuf, eds., Paine and Jefferson in the Age of Revolutions, by Kevin J. Hayes
  • Ngô, Imperial Blues: Geographies of Race and Sex in Jazz Age New York, by Burton W. Peretti
  • Noel, Debating American Identity: Southwestern Statehood and Mexican Immigration, by Flannery Burke
  • Nystrom, Seeing Underground: Maps, Models, and Mining Engineering in America, by Andrew Johnston
  • O’Connor, A Commercial Republic: America’s Enduring Debate over Democratic Capitalism, by Howard Bodenhorn
  • Osborn, Rum Maniacs: Alcohol and Insanity in the Early American Republic, by Katherine A. Chavigny
  • Osterhammel, The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century, by Matthew Karp
  • Perkiss, Making Good Neighbors: Civil Rights, Liberalism, and Integration in Postwar Philadelphia, by Timothy J. Lombardo
  • Pinheiro, Missionaries of Republicanism: A Religious History of the Mexican-American War, by Amy S. Greenberg
  • Pope-Levison, Building the Old Time Religion: Women Evangelists in the Progressive Era, by Douglas Carl Abrams
  • Poucher, State of Defiance: Challenging the Johns Committee’s Assault on Civil Liberties, by Seth Weitz
  • Pratt, Melosi, and Brosnan, eds., Energy Capitals: Local Impact, Global Influence, by Harold L. Platt
  • Prentiss, Staging Faith: Religion and African American Theater from the Harlem Renaissance to World War II, by Soyica Colbert
  • Prince, Stories of the South: Race and the Reconstruction of Southern Identity, 1865–1915, by Bill Hardwig
  • Rasmussen, Gene Jockeys: Life Science and the Rise of Biotech Enterprise, by Jonathan Kahn
  • Rediker, The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom, by Matt Childs
  • Redmond, Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora, by Ruth Feldstein
  • Roberts, Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women: Race and Beauty in the Twentieth-Century South, by Susannah Walker
  • Roberts, Tell Tchaikovsky the News: Rock ’n’ Roll, the Labor Question, and the Musicians’ Union, 1942–1968, by Kenneth J. Bindas
  • Rosendorf, Franco Sells Spain to America: Hollywood, Tourism, and Public Relations as Postwar Spanish Soft Power, by Justin Hart
  • Rothman and Miller, Death Valley National Park: A History, by Polly Welts Kaufman
  • Ruiz, Americans in the Treasure House: Travel to Porfirian Mexico and the Cultural Politics of Empire, by William Schell
  • Ruskola, Legal Orientalism: China, the United States, and Modern Law, by Daniel S. Margolies
  • Ryan, Roy Wilkins: The Quiet Revolutionary and the naacp, by Eric Arnesen
  • Schafer, The Business of Private Medical Practice: Doctors, Specialization, and Urban Change in Philadelphia, 1900–1940, by Christy Ford Chapin
  • Scherr, Thomas Jefferson’s Haitian Policy: Myths and Realities, by Robert J. Alderson Jr.
  • Schlabach, Along the Streets of Bronzeville: Black Chicago’s Literary Landscape, by Eve Dunbar
  • Schmitz, Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War: The End of the American Century, by Sandra Scanlon
  • Shelton, A Squatter’s Republic: Land and the Politics of Monopoly in California, 1850–1900, by Glenna Matthews
  • Smith, At the Edge of Sight: Photography and the Unseen, by Martha A. Sandweiss
  • Smith-Howard, Pure and Modern Milk: An Environmental History since 1900, by Carolyn Thomas
  • Smucker, Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon, by Beverly Gordon
  • Spears, Baptized in pcbs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town, by Duncan Maysilles
  • Stiefel, Jewish Sanctuary in the Atlantic World: A Social and Architectural History, by Wim Klooster
  • Straus, Death of a Suburban Dream: Race and Schools in Compton, California, by Lawrence B. de Graaf
  • Thompson, Never Call Retreat: Theodore Roosevelt and the Great War, by Serge Ricard
  • Thorpe, The American Warfare State: The Domestic Politics of Military Spending, by Douglas Kriner
  • Tsuchiya, Reinventing Citizenship: Black Los Angeles, Korean Kawasaki, and Community Participation, by Mark Santow
  • Van Vleck, Empire of the Air: Aviation and American Ascendancy, by John S. Olszowka
  • Vandenberg-Daves, Modern Motherhood: An American History, by Sarah Knott
  • Warren, The Worlds the Shawnees Made: Migration and Violence in Early America, by Amy C. Schutt
  • Washington, The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s, by Daniel Matlin
  • Weiner, Religion Out Loud: Religious Sound, Public Space, and American Pluralism, by Heath W. Carter
  • Weyler, Empowering Words: Outsiders and Authorship in Early America, by John Wood Sweet
  • White, Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln, by Steven J. Ramold
  • Whitt, Bringing God to Men: American Military Chaplains and the Vietnam War, by Andrew J. Huebner
  • Widmer, Unter Zions Panier: Mormonism and Its Interaction with Germany and Its People, 1840–1990, by Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp
  • Willbanks, A Raid Too Far: Operation Lam Son 719 and Vietnamization in Laos, by Graham A. Cosmas
  • Wilson, The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev’s Adaptability, Reagan’s Engagement, and the End of the Cold War, by Christopher Maynard
  • Woodley, Art for Equality: The naacp’s Cultural Campaign for Civil Rights, by Justin T. Lorts
  • Wu, The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority, by Paul Spickard
  • Wyatt-Brown, A Warring Nation: Honor, Race, and Humiliation in America and Abroad, by Robert Elder
  • Zelko, Make It a Green Peace! The Rise of Countercultural Environmentalism, by Michael Lamar Lewis

Digital History Reviews

  • Contagion: Historical Views on Diseases and Epidemics, by Graham Mooney (pp. 1357) Read online >
  • The Atlas of the Rhode Island Book Trade in the Eighteenth Century, by Robb K. Haberman (p. 1358) Read online >
  • Founders Online, by Francois Furstenberg (p. 1359) Read online >
  • Child Labor in America, 1908—1912: Photographs of Lewis W. Hine, by Joseph A. McCartin (p. 1360) Read online >
  • Robert Penn Warren’s Who Speaks for the Negro? Archival Collection, by Natalie J. Ring (p. 1361) Read online >

Letters to the Editor


Recent Scholarship

View “Recent Scholarship” listing online >

Recent Scholarship is available as a searchable database, Recent Scholarship Online >

cover image

On the cover:

The Lion’s Club of Mineral Wells, Texas, performed numerous womanless weddings in the first half of the twentieth century. This photograph of a womanless wedding in the 1930s or 1940s captures both the wordplay and the erotic ambiguity characterizing such performances. Courtesy Boyce Ditto Public Library Special Collections. See Rachel Hope Cleves, “‘What, Another Female Husband?’: The Prehistory of Same-Sex Marriage in America,“ 1055.